Friday, 19 November 2010


A clip from the very funny film "Dear Diary" by Nanni Moretti. In this scene he confronts a film crtitic with his own 'pseuds corner' reviews. Then he scoots across Rome to find the memorial to film director Pasolini, one of his heroes. This is accompanied by a bit of Keith Jarrett's piano playing from the Koln Concert:


"Must Be The Music", aired on Sky TV, is a music talent competition aimed at rivalling X Factor but focussing on, according to presenter Fearne Cotton, "...acts who can sing, play… or do both!". Artists are encouraged to perform their own compositions. We must thank the producers for bringing the excellent Emma Gillespie to our attention. Here she performs her own song, "Focus", on the show:


Emma Gillespie of Sky TV's "Must Be The Music" fame performs a wonderfully moody cover of Deftones' "Change - In The House Of Flies":

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Styrofoam Boots has kindly responded to my request and submitted her all-time top ten tunes. There's more than a few surprises here. In no particular order:

1) Come on! Feel the Illinoise! Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition. Part II: Carl Sandburg visits me in a dream - Sufjan Stevens

Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I adore Sufjan Stevens and the whole Illinois album is marvellous but I think this song encapsulates everything I love about Soof best. Complex, catchy and creative, Come On! Feel the Illinoise! manages to sound intimate and epic all at the same time. What a dreamboat.

2) Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches

“You’re a nut! You’re crazy in the coconut!”

3) The Young Crazed Peeling - The Distillers

I remember first seeing the video for The Young Crazed Peeling on (now defunct, RIP) P-Rock when I was probably 14 years old and my mind was blown. Brody Dalle instantly became my idol and changed my little life.

4) Willy Mason - Save Myself

“My love and my hammer’s all I really need.” Willy Mason makes me want to give up my degree and travel across America in a wagon. He’s also an absolute babe.

5) Joni Mitchell - Blue

A song about a song about heartbreak, Blue seems to have so much emotional weight behind it, and moves me every single time I hear it. My favourite sad song.

6) Old Friends/Bookends Theme - Simon & Garfunkel

Technically two songs, although they work well apart, once you've heard them together one doesn't quite seem the same without the other. "How terribly strange to be seventy..."

7) Head Over Heels - Tear For Fears

I first heard Head Over Heels on Donnie Darko and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Sam Amidon covers it beautifully, by the way.

8) The Chain - Fleetwood Mac

Oh, as if this needs an explanation. It's The fucking Chain!

9) Dashboard - Modest Mouse

Dashboard introduced me to Modest Mouse and consequently a whole heap of other bands that have been significant to me since.

10) There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths

Choosing between all the Smiths songs I love was no mean feat but it could only really have been There Is A Light That Never Goes Out that took the top spot.

I know 500 Days of Summer made it super cool to love this song (as if proving my worth to the hardcore wasn't already hard enough now I have another layer of shit to contend with "I've loved them for ages, promise! I don't even know what a Gordon Levitt is!") so I'm not going to go on and on about it but basically this song means a lot to me and could potentially be my favourite ever.

Thanks xxx

If you have Spotify you can listen to the list here.

Here are a few highlights from youtube:

Follow Styrofoam Boots on twitter and myspace.

Friday, 29 October 2010

ASBO RETARDS: Called In Sick

We all 'call in sick' now and then, but few of us have tried using 'the plague' as an excuse. The Brighton-based Asbo Retards, whose tagline is 'flying at you like a bag of shit', look like the class of '77 and are clearly enjoying themselves:

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Wikipedia (and who am I to disagree with Wikipedia) states that:

"Acid house is a sub-genre of house music that emphasizes a repetitive, hypnotic and trance-like style, often with samples or spoken lines rather than sung lyrics. Acid house's core electronic squelch sounds were developed by mid-1980s DJs from Chicago.
The earliest recorded examples of acid house are a matter of debate. At least one historian considers the Phuture's "Acid Trax" to be the genre's earliest example; DJ Pierre says it may have been composed as early as 1985, but it was not released until 1987. Another points out Sleezy D's "I've Lost Control" (1986) was the first to be released on vinyl, and it's impossible to know which track was created first."

In that case this track, WHICH WAS RELEASED IN 1982, was somewhat ahead of its time:

J.J. CALE: Tijuana

A haunting song from JJ:

And the studio version:


Tom Jones performs 'Help Yourself' for an audience of rather demure females who appear to eschew knicker-throwing for handkerchief-profferring. The song was released July 1968 and reached No. 5 in the charts:

Here is 'It's Not Unusual', from around the same time. As one youtube viewer commented: "HE'S STILL ALIVE AND MAKING ALL WOMEN GO AFTER HIM." Indeed.

CHARLOTTE CHURCH: Don't Think About It

Missed your chance to buy this on QVC? See it here! I know, I was dubious too, but it is quite good:


ortoPilot's international collaboration with New York based Twintapes:

HOLY FUCK: Red Lights

Holy Fuck is an electronic rock band based in Toronto, Canada. This may be a Gorillaz rip-off, and a blatant attempt to create a viral video, but that bass player is one cool cat:


Are these fellows from Southern California? No...southern London, apparently:

ELLIE FORD:Take Me To Shore

Performed on a Brighton Balcony:


I had a conversation with Nancy Sinatra on twitter the other night. Yes, I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH NANCY SINATRA. Here is my brief tribute:

These Boots Are Made For Walkin', written by Lee Hazlewood and released in 1966:

Title track from the fifth James Bond film, starring Sean Connery as 007. Music by John Barry, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. A great song, and a great film:

Frank and Nancy:

THE SLITS: Typical Girls

I'm not sure, but I am guessing Julien Temple had a hand in this video for The Slits:

DIANA VICKERS: My Wicked Heart (acoustic version)

Nice acoustic version of her single:

GRINDERSWITCH: Pickin the Blues

The theme tune to John Peel's Radio One show, a nifty tune in its own right, framed many thousands of hours of splendid music:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Gregory Isaacs with Roots Radics singing Night Nurse live at Reggae Sunsplash 1983 in Montego Bay, Jamaica:


The Virgins are an American band formed in 2006 in New York, consisting of Donald Cumming (vocals, guitar), Wade Oates (guitar), and Nick Ackerman (bass).

Great bass line on this track:


I, Ludicrous is a three piece pop music ensemble, formed in South London in 1985, by John Procter and David Rippingale ("Will Hung"). The band sprang to notoriety at the end of 1987, when their debut flexi release ("Preposterous Tales") reached Number 11 in John Peel's Festive Fifty.

I, Ludicrous are still producing music today, and play occasional live dates, primarily in London. In January 2008, Martin Brett from Voice of the Beehive joined the band on bass guitar. (Wikipedia).

Preposterous Tales:

We're The Support Band: Great 'Thunderbirds' footage here; no, that's not Wayne Rooney on the drums:

Global Businessman (at 'The Greenhouse Effect' 10/04/10):

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

THE IGNERENTS: Radio Interference / I Won't Be There

Ask anyone what punk is (or was) all about and they will probably mention The Sex Pistols, swearing at Bill Grundy on the telly, The Clash, bondage trousers, safety pins and mohican haircuts. They may claim that it all started in the USA. All correct, perhaps, but only a small part of the story. Punk was a youth movement that led from 1976 onwards to the formation of thousands of new groups across the country. Every town of any size developed a new music scene, and any village of more than a few hundred people had its own version of "The Infested", "The Rancid" or "The Vomitones". My own corner of the UK, around Canterbury, Whitstable, Margate and Herne Bay in Kent, was no exception, and I latched onto a number of groups, particularly The Ignerents.

The Ignerents were formed in 1977 in Whitstable, Kent, by brothers Chris 'Stax' Harris (bass) and Steve Harris (guitar), vocalist Kevin Holmes (soon replaced by Ben Challis), neighbour Mark Leighton on guitar (later repalced by Nick Appleton), and drummer Stan 'Gretsch' Littlejohn.

The group released one single in 1979 (Radio Interference b/w Wrong Place Wrong Time) on local label Ace Records and then re-released it on their own 'Rundown' label.

Manager Phil Harris said "We are not trying to jump on the image bandwagon, but looking for the excitement that has been brough to music by the new wave.. " Times/Observer Sep 1977.

At the time I thought the Ignerents were the best group in the history of rock 'n roll...and I was right. I still think they are...and I am still right. Here is their single:

...and here's another blistering track:

Monday, 11 October 2010

When an "illegal immigrant" has the X Factor

I have confessed it before and I will confess again – I watch the X Factor, and I like some of the singers that have appeared on the programme. Along with quite a few other viewers (apparently 250, 000 have signed up to a relevant facebook site) I was taken, in the latest competition, by the brief performances of Gamu Nenghu, and was surprised when Cheryl Cole told her “...for now, it’s a no”, and she was off the show. Whatever criteria were used it did seem odd that after three perfect vocals Gamu was eliminated in favour of others whose attempts seemed less polished. Maybe Gamu was considered not to have “pop star potential”, but there also seemed to be something odd in the way Cheryl C (or is it back to T now?) delivered the bad news. Then, as most of you will undoubtedly have heard, it emerged that Gamu and her family faced the very real possibility of removal from the U.K. to Zimbabwe, the country of their birth. There has been much speculation about the reasons for the threat of removal; this BBC report, quoting the family’s solicitor, seems to be accurate. 
The tabloid press must have had a pretty hard time with this, wanting to boost circulation by riding the wave of popular support for Gamu whilst also not wanting to stem their relentless tide of anti-immigrant propaganda. Some red-top articles have been sympathetic to the family, only to be followed by a tirade of “send-them-home” abuse in the readers’ comments section. I wish all the X Factor contestants well, but I would have liked Gamu to continue to hear more of her singing. But this is of course a triviality compared to the threat, to her and her family, of removal to Zimbabwe. So, just to do my bit, I will confront some of the arguments I have encountered on this matter: 

“They are illegal immigrants and should be sent back.” 

The family have been staying in the U.K. legally, on the mother’s visa. Her application for renewal of the visa was recently refused, but, as the family’s solicitor has argued, this is likely to be down to an administrative error. When the renewal was refused the family were given time to leave the U.K. voluntarily; to date this deadline has not been reached and so the family are still here legally. It also seems likely that there will be either an appeal or a judicial review of the case, and the family will then be allowed to remain, at least until a further determination is made.
It has also been suggested that the removal of Gamu, who has spent most of her childhood in the United Kingdom, would itself be illegal as a breach of both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. 

“Gamu should not get special treatment.” 

She deserves fair and humane treatment. Many immigrants are not treated fairly and humanely, as this excellent article shows, so this becomes an argument for improving the treatment of immigrants generally, not for removing Gamu and her family. The fact that many immigrants are treated unjustly is no argument for treating this particular family unjustly. The publicity and campaigning for Gamu may benefit immigrants generally by highlighting the injustices of “border control” and the immigration system. 

“Gamu’s mother is a benefit cheat.” 

This is not the view of the family’s lawyer, who said “...Mrs Ngazana [Gamu’s mother] was advised by the Inland Revenue that she was entitled to claim Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and that it was aware of her immigration status.” 

There are, of course, many more general arguments relating to the immigration debate, covered by hundreds of thousands of web. A recent analysis for The Financial Times reached some conclusions that might come as a surprise to many: 

- The notion that natives inevitably lose out when immigrants take jobs was dismissed as “misguided”. 

- “Looking at the UK workforce as a whole, the rapid influx of migrants over the past decade has in fact had little impact on wages” (though where it has had an impact, the poor have mostly been the ones to lose out. Then again, “It is worth pointing out that many of those at the bottom end were themselves originally migrants). 

- “Despite lurid headlines about benefit scroungers, there is little evidence to support fears that migrants take more money out of the economy than they put in overall” 

- “Research by Christian Dustmann at UCL, a leading authority in the field, shows migrants from eastern Europe are putting far more into the economy than they take out” 

- Probability of natives claiming benefits: 39.7%.  Probability of immigrants from east European countries that joined the EU in 2004 claiming benefits: 16.4%. 

So, in conclusion, Gamu and her family should stay...and so should many others who have been branded as “illegal immigrants.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


I like Seven Summers a lot. I fear that X Factor may help Matt Cardle but spell the end of this band (assuming they still exist).

Monday, 4 October 2010


The new single by Mark Ronson is a real ear worm. This is the performance from "Later...". Apparently that is not Deirdre Barlow on the vocal.

MORRISSEY: Everyday Is Like Sunday

Mozza at The Move festival in Manchester, 2004. He starts by singing what I think is Subway Train, by The New York Dolls.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

FRANK CHICKENS: Shellfish Bamboo

I first heard this on John Peel and have been trying to track it down for a very long time:

GEOFF SMITH: Soundtrack to "Häxan"

This is an excerpt from the film "Häxan" (1922), described on IMDB as: "A documentary about the history of witchcraft, told in a variety of styles, from illustrated slideshow to dramatised events of alleged real-life events, right up to the early twentieth century (when the film was made)".

A year or so ago I went to a screening of the film with a live accompaniment by Geoff Smith, playing a custom-built electric dulcimer, not an instrument whith which I was previously familiar. It was an amazing performance.

The current DVD release of the film allows you to choose from a number of soundtracks, but the Geoff Smith track is by far the superior, and really fits the mood and changing scenes of this haunting film.

I have had to stitch together the video and soundtrack for this excerpt, and it is way out of sync, but it will give you the idea, and the complete soundtrack is here.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


This seems to be over-dubbed and out of sync, but still gives a sense of what a great performer Elvis and his backing musicians were back then:

Monday, 20 September 2010

ROXY MUSIC: Virginia Plain / Love Is The Drug

Roxy Music still sounding good; from the final BBC Jonathan Ross show:


Who does the best cover of the Prince classic?

1) mentalmoomin

2) Charlyne Wi

3) Kate McGill

4) Diana Vickers

5) Sinead O'Connor

Monday, 13 September 2010

AMY WINEHOUSE: Love Is A Losing Game

Live at The Brixton Academy; she's a bit the worse for wear but still a good performance:


Acoustic performance, live at SXSW, Austin, Texas:


Live in Williamsburg, USA:


Amy Winehouse with an excellent performance of The Zutons' Valerie by Amy Winehouse at the Eurockeennes Festival in France, 2007:

Friday, 10 September 2010

WILD BEASTS: Devil's Crayon

An acoustic performance from the Mercury Prize nominees:


From a performance for WFUV radio:

LAURA MARLING: Devil's Spoke

A short clip of Laura Marling performing in Delhi, with Mumford and Sons, and the rajasthani folk band The Dharohar Project:


Dublin-based singer/songwriter Villagers, recorded in his own home, for his label, Domino Records:


From a performance at London's South Bank:

FOALS: Spanish Sahara

From a session for BBC 6Music:

PAUL WELLER: No Tears To Cry

A track from his Mercury Prize nominated album "Wake Up The Nation", performed for the Jools Holland show:


Live at the Radio 1Xtra event:

BIFFY CLYRO: Many Of Horror

A performance from the T4 Festival 2010


Corinne Bailey Rae with a special performance for the Mercury Prize 2010:

I AM KLOOT: Northern Skies

John Bramwell of I Am Kloot with an acoustic version of his song:

THE XX: Crystalised

Acoustic performance by Mercury Prize winners The XX:

LAURA MARLING: I Speak Because I Can

A nice arrangement for her song at the Mercury Prize 2010 show:

Monday, 23 August 2010

LAURA MARLING: Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)

Lovely performance from Laura Marling and band at a gig in Brussels:

ELLIE GOULDING: Don't Panic (Coldplay cover)

Lovely acoustic cover by Ellie Goulding at the V Festival:

PLAN B: I Know A Song

A great soulful track from his album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks:

PLAN B: She Said

An acoustic performance from the V Festival:

LAURA MARLING: I Speak Because I Can

Laura Marling performs the title track fro her latest album for The Music Show (ABC Radio National) in Australia. The other uploads (the is a Part 1, 1a and 2) are well worth a look.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


One of my favourite tracks by The Good Captain:

DIANA VICKERS: Run (Snow Patrol)

Not a good recording, probably done with a 'phone, but a great performance by Diana Vickers. I think this was in a club in Birmingham, after the Pride festival.


Soothing sounds fron the Norwegian duo, with some pretty cool surfing footage. There is a lot more of this band on EMI's official Youtube channel.


I like the idea of finding the right music to fit certain images. I have been inspired to set some paintings by Francis Bacon to music ("Uwwalo by Blood Of The Black Owl). I just watched it back myself, it scared the shit out of me:

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


With Johnny Rotten advertising butter and playing gigs in Israel, and Billy Idol feasting on quail's arse with rocket salad in Santa Monica restaurants...what bands of today have inherited the punk spirit of 1977, I sometimes ask myself. There's plenty of grunge, grime, garage and gangstas around, but what about that do-it-yourself-and-record-it-on-a-Sanyo-cassette-deck idea that was just as much a part of punk as a sweary interview with Bill Grundy? I recently caught up with Nathan Willcock and Ed Goodson: The Atomic Penguins, a "lo-fi" duo from Whitstable in Kent, who are so keen not to "sell out" that they have written a song about how to avoid it.

Nick says: Hi there
Nathan says: hi, Ed is here now, so we can start if you like
Nick says: sure OK. Does the band consist of just you and Ed?
Nathan says: yes, and a casio keyboard which provides pre set drum beats and general sound
Nick says: I think you have said the band will cease to exist when you go to Uni this year, is that true?
Nathan says: yes, if we get the results we want on Thursday then yes, but we go for months without pratice and then play a gig now, so I suppose if the gigs were offerd and we could do them, we wouldn't say no. Reunions are big now anyway aren't they?
Nick says: Indeed they are. Did you deliberately set out to produce lo-fi music?
Nathan says: not at first, we had no idea about recording and producing music, but this album we did because a lot of music we like is lo-fi, so we didn't have a problem with it, plus it was easier and we have no money, and no way of making any money back, so recording it ourselves on the worst quality equipment seemed the natual option. 
Nick says: In your song you say “I hate all bands, except for the ones that I like”...which ones do you like?
[great song btw]
Nathan says: Thanks, the main artists who we really love would probably be Art Brut, Harvey Danger, The Mountain Goats, Jeffrey Lewis and Half Man Half Biscuit.
Nick says: Would you agree that some of your songs sound a bit like some punk stuff from the 1977 to early 80s period? I know you have mentioned Half Man Half Biscuit.
Nathan says: Ed reallly likes the punk stuff a lot, and I supposed the punk ethos was strong, as in we're not great, trained musicans, but we kind do our stuff and don't care about what people think, plus we were listening to a lot of Crass in the build up to making this, which got us all angry.
Nick says: Some of your songs seem to be inspired by you local towns in different ways...Herne Bay / Whitstable / that true?
Nathan says: yes, it's kind of all we know, with the song Virginity and the (Cathedral) City, especially we wanted to write a song about Canterbury and it's pubs, because that's where we spent most of the last couple of years in. Plus it's never really been talked about in a song before,we just write about what we know, because it's easiest.
Nick says: I know you call some of your songs “rants” or "ramblings", would you describe them all that way?
Nathan says: yes, maybe not all of them, especially if I write songs about girls, they tend to ramble on a bit, and if we sing about stuff that annoys us then it is a rant, I hate all bands is a rant, no doubt about it.
Nick says: ...and one of my favourites, "Bullshit of a Preacher Man", i guess.
Nathan says: yes, I suppose they are just rants, we're really suprised you like that song, as it was one that we never practiced before recording, so it's good to know we don't have to practice or take time over our songs
Nick says: Have you done many live gigs? Have there been any outstanding high or low points?
Nathan says: We've done about 20 or so gigs. Our first gig we actually won a 'winky' award at the local comedy festival, which was great...and...also Ramsgate small boat owners club and at the Lounge On The Farm festival was really good, but the low points have been many, audiences who don't 'get' us and also once we had a gig, which we organised, we couldn't get another band to support us, we hired a P.A system, but no one attended, apart from three people, who left and only came back when we got kicked out after the barman said we were losing him money, so we ended up playing to those three people on a main road in a gurrila-ish style gig that was a low point, which we turned into a high point by selling a £1 album out of sympathy from a drunk guy.
Nick says: I see real potential for a Spinal Tap style film here, have you ever thought about that?
Nathan says: yes many a time, there was this one idea when we got offered to play in front of terminally ill children at Christmas, we thought filming that and the bulid up, and the awkwardness of the whole thing may be entertaining, but we couldn't do that because some of the children had sound epilepsy, so our noise could have been disastrous...also we thought about doing spoof ones set in the future...
Nick says: Can I ask Ed...I think you play keyboards and guitar...any other instuments? Have you had any musical training, or would you see that as a disadvantage, in lo-fi terms?
Nathan says: I learnt a bit on guitar from lessons, but they mainly consisted of watching my teacher show off which caused bitter resentment, so now I consider anyone with musical talent a sell out. and the keyboard plays itself, I just press some buttons
Nick says: Your song "Nazi Girl" it true that you refuse to play that now?
Nathan says: no, there was a song called Girl Of My Dreams which we always used to play, but it was very boring and took 4 mins to get to the punch line, so we made a video and put it to rest, but Nazi Girl is our big 'hit' that everyone remembers and it goes down too well live to stop doing it, that and I hate all bands.
Nick says: So far I think you have made 3 albums. Is that your total recorded output to date?
Nathan says: yes we had a live album and a demo sort of thing, both recorded by our friend, and doctor of music, Doctor Doyle who also recorded our second album, the Social Networking Shites
Nick says: Is there a local "scene" with other similar bands in your area?
Nathan says: there is a local scene, and a lot of our friends are in bands, the live music scene isn't as big as in some areas, but it's OK. There very few bands that are simaler to us, I think we can say we're unique without sounding arrogant, certianly in Kent, we're number 1 in the reverbnation comedy band charts for Canterbury.
Nick says: OK well thanks a lot guys been good talking to you good luck with your exam results, but don't let education get in the way of good music
Nathan says: yes, thank you.
Nick says: Cheers, Bye
Nathan says: bye

Two tracks (I Hate All Bands and Hyperbole In Love Songs) from The Atomic Penguins' third and latest album Touch My Chin, Anthony Eden:

Many more downloads are available free from The Atomic Penguins' website.

Friday, 13 August 2010

THE STRANGLERS: (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)

The Stranglers playing live in Battersea Park 1978 - (Get A) Grip (On Yourself). The build-up footage is interesting; the music starts around 1:00. The Stranglers were one of the first Punk bands I ever saw, along with The Damned. It's hard to recount the level of energy and excitement generated in performances by early punk bands:

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS: Alternative Ulster

Thanks to ludeboy77 for uploading this wonderful footage of
live clip of Stiff Little Fingers performing "Alternative Ulster" during their Rough Trade Tour of 1979. They were part of an energetic Belfast / N. Irish punk scene from '78 onwards. It's hard to exaggerate the level of excitement generated in performances by early punk bands:

Friday, 6 August 2010

MITCH BENN: A Minute's Noise For John

A very apt tribute to John Peel, by Mitch Benn.


Let's have a minute's noise from all the girls and boys
Who understand that they lost a friend the other day 'cos
To have a minute's silence somehow would be wrong,
Let's have a minute's noise for John.
Let's have a minute's row from everyone remembering how
He soundtracked all our misspent youths
From Teenage Kicks right to Home Truths.
To stand in wordless contemplation's just not on,
Let's have a minute's noise for John.
So DJs rip up your playlists, remember better stuff exists
Now that he has left us how'll we save the world from Simon bloody Cowell?
Let's have a minute's racket, though he isn't coming coming back it
Seems we understand the need to play something loud and at the wrong speed.
Cos a minute's silence wouldn't show him how we feel,
Let's have a minute's noise for Peel.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Scouting For Girls perform an acoustic version of their single "Famous" for

This hooky little offering is taken from the band's second album "Everybody Wants To Be On TV". The happy sound and bouncy rhythm are overlaid with some (at times) fairly cutting lyrics on the shallowness of modern pop culture. Less incisive, perhaps, than Lily Allen's lyrics on "The Fear" but it still hits a few marks: "I want to be known for just being famous – I can't act, I can't dance, I can't sing, but I'm young and I'm pretty". Ouch! The song will be a hit, however, because of the velvet glove of its catchy singalong chorus rather than the punch of the lyrics.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

LADY GAGA: Poker Face

With added gratuitous screaming, from her performance on the Jonathan Ross show:

MOTORHEAD: Ace Of Spades

Don't forget the joker!


A very young Laura Marling performing her song "New Romantic". I seem to ask this every time I listen to her, but how can one so young write such mature songs? The video shows once again that simple ideas are often the best:

Just a link, I am afraid: Embedding not allowed by EMI.

SOFIAROCK: My Funny Valentine

YouTuber Sofiarock with "My Funny Valentine":

LINDSAY ELL: Superstition

Lindsay Ell from Calgary, Canada does a good job on Stevie Wonder's "Superstition":

KINA GRANNIS: Stay Just A Little

Kina Grannis with her song "Stay Just A Little"; her sister Emmy is singing backing vocals.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

N-DUBZ: Papa Can You hear Me?

A moving song and an excellent performance by N-Dubz:


D A P's to the Y

Yeah, i don't mean to bore, you know my name
Chill for a second, just hear my pain
If you've lost any loved ones you'll feel what i'm saying
All was peaceful, down here with the lane

When someone you loved, who put you up from the start
Built you up and made you into who you are
Who always believed, saying that you'll be a star
Then all of a sudden they just passed

Dash the reaper from ontop of ma wardrobe
Slap den crack, from side of the mouth
Put me on stage infront of a crowd
Now we're picking up awards whle he's under the ground

My Daddy this and my Daddy that
Well i found mine dead on a couch in ma flat
So much to say, i wish i coulda said bye
The only time i'll talk to him is when i look into the sky

Faze: YEAH!!


All i've got is these pictures of ya
And your light blue crack down Nokia
Things in my house still smell of ya
All i wanna say is:

Papa if you can hear me...!!
I regret every bad thing that i saaaid
Please forgive me if you hear me...
Never knew how much i loved ya till you was dead...!!

Papa if you can hear me...
Dappy: If only youuu, knew what you went and done
Please forgive me if you hear me...
Dappy: See all i know is, i'm proud to be your Son
Papa if you can hear me...

Faze: We're getting away in the world, it's how i'm flowing with N-Dubz
If it wasn't for you B there wouldn't be N-Dubz
Kept us together never knowing we'd end up
Moving onto Mobo's pushing the bench up
You pushed and pushed when no-one wanted to believe
but back then it was all a dream

It's like you sacrificed your life
For the love of success and a life full of stress
I'm vexed cuz

First they love you, second they hate you
They talked about you, when they tried to play you
Behind your back they were tryna betray you
But B, i never had a chance to repay you
for the things you done for me
Put me on the right path, kept me from steering left
Yeah we had a right laugh
But i be feeling like Bruce Willis, each and everyday i really wanna Die Hard


All i've got is these pictures of ya
And your light blue crack down Nokia
Things in my house still smell of ya
All i wanna say is:

Papa if you can hear me...!!
I regret every bad thing that i saaaid
Please forgive me if you hear me...!!
Never knew how much i loved ya till you was dead...!!

Tulisa: If only youuu
Dappy: Papa if you can hear me...!!
Dappy: If only youuu, knew what you went and done
Tulisa: Please forgive me if you hear me...!!
Dappy: Please forgive me if you hear me...!!
Dappy: See all i know is, i'm proud to be your Son
Papa if you can hear me...!!

Tulisa: I never ever hear what you said
The fights and the laughter
The success and disasters, No!
But nothing seems clearer..
Than the day you were gone..

You said, despite all the stress
You haveta fight to the death
Coz little girl your a star
Don't let em kill who you are....

You see you gave me a chance
And now look where i am
You are the reason, i can't wait to see you again...


All i've got is these pictures of ya
And your light blue crack down Nokia
Things in my house still smell of ya
All i wanna say is:

Papa if you can hear me...!!
I regret every bad thing that i saaaid
Please forgive me if you hear me...!!
Never knew how much i loved ya till you was dead...!!

Tulisa: If only youuu
Dappy: Papa if you can hear me...!!
Dappy: If only youuu, knew what you went and done
Dappy: Please forgive me if you hear me...!!
Tulisa: See all i know is, i'm proud to be your Son
Dappy: See all i know is, i'm proud to be your Son
Papa if you can hear me...!!

(All doing backing vocals on the last chorus)

N-Dubz, Tealease, i haveta say i dropped a tear when i done this shhh..
Like they always say, you dunno what you got till you lose it
Nah Nah Frickin
B Yannar i'm gonna fulfill ya wish and take care of mum's in the yard

Wednesday, 30 June 2010


I aim to compile a list of great cover versions of songs.

My view is that to be great a cover version has to somehow add something to the original and not just be an attempt at a carbon copy. It could be a complete re-arrangement of a track, or a great performance that takes a song to a new level or gives it a new twist.

Rather than just decide on the list myself I would like my readers to make please do so by ADDING A COMMENT BELOW (just click on the "comments" label). You don't HAVE to become a follower (but please do!), you can leave anonymous comments if you prefer; either way I WILL reply.

David Bowie: "Let's Spend The Night Together" (original by The Rolling Stones)

The Jam: "David Watts" (original by The Kinks)

Bernie wrote "The Jam's up-tempo punkish take on David Watts by The Kinks was so good that The Kinks ended up covering the Jam's version in their live gigs!"

This is the best version I could find, which has the bonus of an into. by Peter Cook and a rather glamorous friend:

Timebox: "Beggin" (original by Franki Valli and The Four Seasons):

Ray Stevens: "Misty" (original by Erroll Garner):

Bryan Ferry: "Positively 4th Street" (original by Bob Dylan):

Bernie suggested Bryan Ferry's cover of "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"; good idea, but I prefer his version of "Positively 4th Street". I wasn't sure which of these two versions to post, so here's both of them:

Rachid Taha: "Rock El Casbah" (original by the Clash):

As a huge fan of Joe Strummer Algerian performer Taha sensed something patronising in the original version and gave it an Arabic make-over.

Taha has an interesting biography: While working in a heating appliance factory in the late 1970s, Taha founded Les Refoulés ("The Rejects"), a nightclub where he would spin mashups of Arabic pop classics over Led Zeppelin, Bo Diddley and Kraftwerk backbeats." (Wikipedia).

Richard Thompson: "Oops I Did It Again" (original by Britney Spears):

From one of his "1000 Years Of Popular Music" gigs.

Billy Stewart: "Summertime" by George Gershwin

Of course there are 1001 versions of "Summertime" but this is outstanding:

Sid Vicious: "My Way"

"Paul Anka heard the original 1967 French pop song, Comme d'habitude (as usual) performed by Claude Francois with music by Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux and lyrics by Claude Francois and Gilles Thibault, while on holiday in the south of France. He flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song. In a 2007 interview, he said: "I thought it was a bad record, but there was something in it." He acquired publishing rights at no cost and, two years later, had a dinner in Florida with Frank Sinatra and "a couple of Mob guys" at which Sinatra said he was "quitting the business. I'm sick of it, I'm getting the hell out". (Wikipedia)

Sinatra went on to popularise the song, which is now claimed to be the most covered song ever. Which is the best? There is really only one contender.

Greg Lasswell: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (original by Cyndi Lauper):

Foy Vance: "Billie Jean" (original by Michael Jackson):

The Beatles: "Twist And Shout" (original by The Isley Brothers):

Performed at The NME Awards, 1964.

John Cale: "Heartbreak Hotel" (original by Elvis Presley):

John Cale is so lonely he dies on stage. Not in the sense of forgetting his lines, and not literally:

Ike and Tina Turner: "I've Been Lovin You Too Long" (original by Otis Redding)

Sonic Youth: "Superstar" (original by The Carpenters)

In a word...creepy.

The Fall: "Lost In Music" (original by Sister Sledge)

Grace Jones: "She's Lost Control" (original by Joy Division):

OK so it's not a touch on the original. But it is different, and quite scary with the Russell Harty-bashing diva singing it.

Al Green: "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" (original by The Bee Gees):

Hayseed Dixie: "Ace Of Spades" (original by Motorhead):

Don't forget the joker!

This Mortal Coil: "Song To The Siren" (original by Tim Buckley):

Robert Wyatt: "Shipbuilding" (original by Elvis Costello and Clive Langer):

Blondie: "Denis" (original by Randy And The Rainbows):

Noel Coward sings the 1934 original of the song made famous by Amy Winehouse. Song with slides.
Well, not really. It's actually a cover by "Lady Bra Bra":